Best Precision Bass 2024: P-Basses from Fender and beyond

Fender Nat Mendel P bass in red
(Image credit: Future)

For many bass players, choosing between Jazz or Precision models is a fundamental decision, the kind you make at the start of your learning journey and never waver from. If you've opted for the iconic finesse of a Precision bass, then you're in for a treat. In this guide we're rounding up the best Precision bass models you can buy right now. 

Fender first launched the Precision bass (aka the P bass) in 1951, and it became renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship and impeccable playability. Before long other companies started making their own versions of the P. Typically equipped with a split single-coil pickup, Precision basses deliver a focused, defined tone that lays the foundation for countless musical genres. With its robust neck and solid build, it's a go-to option for players seeking durability and stability. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the top-notch Precision bass styles across various price ranges, even throwing in a few non-Fender alternatives. 

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a budding enthusiast, this guide will help you pinpoint the perfect Precision bass model that caters to your unique requirements.

Best Precision bass: Guitar World recommends

In much the same way the sugar-free version pales in comparison to the full-fat version of your favorite drink, there’s just nothing quite like the

. Featuring selectable active and passive EQ controls, an additional Jazz Bass style bridge pickup, and a super comfortable modern ‘D’ neck profile, this really is the ultimate Precision Bass.

We also have to shout out the

which comes equipped with parts approved by the man himself, including the bridge, preamp, and a fantastic feeling rolled edge roasted maple neck. The combination of top-tier build quality and reasonable price point make this a fantastic Precision Bass for regularly gigging players.

Best Precision bass: Product guide

Best Precision bass: Squier Classic Vibe 60s Precision Bass

(Image credit: Squier)

1. Squier Classic Vibe 60s Precision Bass

The best for serious learners

Specifications

Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Strings: Four
Pickups: Fender-designed Alnico split-coil

Reasons to buy

+
Classic looks
+
Superb sound
+
Effortlessly playable

Reasons to avoid

-
More color options would be great

It used to be that buying a Squier was what you did if you couldn’t afford a full-fat Fender. Not any more. For our money, the Squier Classic Vibe 60s Precision Bass is one of the best pound-for-dollar models you can get. It boasts the same iconic shape as the more expensive models and marries it up with levels of build quality and attention to detail that far exceed what you’d expect for the price. 

We’ve seen plenty of players snap a Classic Vibe up as a studio buddy or as a backup for taking out on the road. However you’ll use it, we can assure you this is a serious bass guitar and one we can’t recommend highly enough. 

Best Precision bass: Fender Player Series Precision Bass

(Image credit: Fender)

2. Fender Player Series Precision Bass

The best entry point to genuine Fender models

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: Alnico Player Series split coil

Reasons to buy

+
Decent build quality
+
Lightweight body
+
Sounds great

Reasons to avoid

-
Lots of competition at this price bracket

If you’re dead set on needing the Fender name on the headstock, but you can’t stretch to the four-figure sums required for an American-made model, then the Fender Player Series Precision might be just what you’re looking for. As a genuine Fender, you can rely on there being an inherent level of quality and style, and we hear mostly great things about models coming out of the Mexican factory these days. 

There are lots of models – Fender and otherwise – at or around this price, so you’ll have some decisions to make, but you can be confident if you opt for the Player Series that you’ll have a quality bass that should last you long into the future. 

Best Precision bass: Fender American Ultra Precision Bass

(Image credit: Fender)
The best Precision from the top tier

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Strings: Four
Pickups: 1 x Ultra Noiseless Jazz, 1 x Ultra Precision

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and comfortable to play
+
Sensational pickups
+
Hard case included

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey!

If you’re a more advanced player looking for a high-quality Precision bass you can invest some serious money in, then the Fender American Ultra Precision makes for an obvious option. Obvious in that it’s Fender’s flagship (excluding Custom Shop models) P-Bass, with a host of noteworthy features. We like the choice of alder for the body as it makes it lightweight to play, while the Ultra Noiseless bridge pickup sounded frankly incredible.

With a list price of over $2k, this isn’t the everyman option, but if you’re looking for the best Fender has to offer then this one has to be right up there. 

Read the full Fender American Ultra Precision Bass review

Best Precision bass: Sire Marcus Miller P8

(Image credit: Sire)

4. Sire Marcus Miller P8

The best mid-range P model

Specifications

Body: Swamp Ash
Neck: Roasted Maple
Fingerboard: Roasted Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: Marcus Super PJ Revolution single coils

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional tone
+
Extremely playable
+
Sustain for days

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing

The Sire Marcus Miller P8 bass guitar is a real gem. It's a product of the collaboration between Marcus Miller and Sire Guitars, and wow, have they hit the mark. With its premium swamp ash body and roasted maple neck, the P8 delivers a rich and resonant sound that's pure ear candy. Thanks to the Marcus Miller Super PJ Revolution pickups, this beauty covers a vast tonal range, from velvety vintage vibes to punchy modern tones. It's like having a whole arsenal of sounds at your fingertips.

Crafted with precision and attention to detail, it offers exceptional tone, remarkable playability, and the stamp of Marcus Miller's expertise. Whether you're a pro or an enthusiastic bass lover, the P8 is guaranteed to impress.

Best Precision bass: Music Man Sterling Sub Series Ray 4

(Image credit: Sterling by Music Man)

5. Music Man Sterling Sub Series Ray4

A solid entry-level performer

Specifications

Body: Basswood
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: Ceramic humbucker

Reasons to buy

+
Looks great
+
Beefy pickup
+
Lightweight body

Reasons to avoid

-
More color options would be great

While not strictly designated as a P-Bass, the Music Man Sterling Sub Series Ray4 is a great ‘precision-adjacent’ bass for the money. It's got a classic StingRay look and tone, with a basswood body, maple neck, and maple or jatoba fingerboard. It's also got a 9V active preamp, a low-noise humbucking pickup, and a fully adjustable heavy-duty bridge which gives great sustain.

The Ray4 is a versatile bass that can handle a wide range of genres, from rock and funk to jazz and R&B. It's also great value for the price, making it a great option for both beginners and experienced players. If you're looking for a great bass that won't break the bank, the Music Man Sterling Sub Series Ray4 is a great option.

Best Precision bass: Sandberg California II VS

(Image credit: Sandberg)

6. Sandberg California II VS

Lots of options with this high-end beauty

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Pau Ferro
Strings: Four
Pickups: Delano single coil and humbucker

Reasons to buy

+
Slightly shorter scale length is ideal for smaller hands
+
Looks amazing

Reasons to avoid

-
Lead times can be long

The Sandberg California II range offers hugely versatile P-styles that can handle a wide range of musical genres. It comes in a selection of different finishes, pickup combinations and even scale lengths, and has a comfortable, modern C-shaped maple neck with a roasted maple fingerboard. Our preferred pickup combination sees it equipped with two Delano pickups (a P-style neck pickup and a bridge humbucker). 

Overall the California II VS has a well-balanced sound that is both punchy and articulate. It can be used for anything from slap and funk to rock and metal. If you're looking for a versatile and high-quality bass guitar, the Sandberg California II VS is definitely worth your attention. 

Best Precision bass: Music Man Sterling Stingray Ray 34

(Image credit: Sterling by Music Man)

7. Sterling by Music Man Stingray Ray34

Iconic Stingray for the intermediate player

Specifications

Body: Nyatoah
Neck: Roasted Maple
Fingerboard: Roasted Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: H1 Alnico humbucker

Reasons to buy

+
Classic design
+
Quality build
+
Gorgeous neck

Reasons to avoid

-
We're always wary of open-gear tuners…

The StingRay is one of the most popular bass models of all time, and the Ray34 captures its signature sound perfectly. It has a big, bold sound that cuts through the mix, but it's also versatile enough to play a variety of genres. For our money, the roasted maple neck is one of the best features of the Ray34. It's smooth, fast, and very stable, making it a joy to play. We also loved the 3-band active preamp, which provides plenty of tonal control. 

Overall, the Music Man Sterling Stingray Ray34 is a great bass for any player. It has a classic sound, a comfortable neck, and plenty of tonal control. If you're looking for a great bass to start your collection, the Ray34 is easy to recommend.

Best P bass: Lakland Vintage Skyline

(Image credit: Lakland)

8. Lakland Vintage Skyline

A great option for high-level players

Specifications

Body: Ash
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: 1 x Lakland Hybrid “P” split coil pickup and 1 x Lakland “J” bridge pickup

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable neck
+
Good range of sounds

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited color options

The Lakland Vintage P-style Skyline Bass is renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship and tonal versatility. With its sleek design and high-quality components, this bass offers a premium playing experience. It features a vintage-style split-coil pickup that delivers rich, warm tones reminiscent of classic P-style basses. The well-balanced neck and comfortable body shape provide excellent playability, making it suitable for various musical genres. The solid construction ensures durability and long-lasting performance. 

Overall, the Lakland Vintage P style Skyline Bass combines timeless aesthetics, remarkable sound and reliable build quality, making it a worthwhile investment for intermediate bass players stepping up towards professional-grade instruments.

Best precision bass: 9. Sadowsky MetroLine Hybrid P/J

(Image credit: Sadowsky)

9. Sadowsky MetroLine Hybrid P/J

The best lightweight P-bass option

Specifications

Body: American Swamp Ash
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: Sadowsky J-style pickup/ P-style pickup

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight 
+
Versatile

Reasons to avoid

-
Not easy to find  

We couldn't have a list of the best precision basses and not include the wonderful instruments of Roger Sadowsky. Now, while we would have loved to have included one of the company's custom-made basses, as these are a little out of reach for the average working musician, we've decided to opt for the German-made MetroLine instead. 

This contemporary bass takes the classic P-bass design and elevates it to new heights, resulting in an extremely lightweight, superbly versatile bass that’s a joy to play. 

Featuring a swamp ash body, 34" maple neck with 12" fingerboard radius and Sadowsky's famous active bass and treble boost, there isn't a sound this bass can't do! 

Best precision bass: Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas

(Image credit: Charvel)

10. Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas

The best p-bass for metal

Specifications

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: DiMarzio Model J DP123/ DiMarzio Model P DP122

Reasons to buy

+
Very thin neck
+
DiMarzio pickups as standard

Reasons to avoid

-
The finish options aren't for everyone 

Pioneers in the hard rock and metal guitar space, Charvel actually makes some of the best basses for metal, and the Pro-Mod San Dimas proves why. With its sleek alder body and extremely thin maple neck, this P-style bass is designed for speed and extreme playing. 

The tonal heart of this bold P-bass is a set of DiMarzio pickups. This bass features the Model J at the bridge and Model P in the middle, delivering the low-end power you expect from a Precision Bass and the bright attack from a Jazz Bass. 

A Charvel HiMass bridge, Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut, open-gear tuners, Luminlay side dots, and a 3-band active EQ continue the Pro-Mod's impressive spec list. 

Read our full Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas PJ V review

Best precision bass: G&L Tribute LB-100 Bass Guitar

(Image credit: G&L)

11. G&L Tribute LB-100 Bass Guitar

An affordable P-style option from G&L

Specifications

Body: Poplar
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Maple
Strings: Four
Pickups: G&L Alnico split-coil pickup

Reasons to buy

+
A fairly traditional P-style bass 
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Some may find it a little boring 

Unlike the L-2000, Kilpton, or JB-2, the LB-100 is a more traditional take on the P-style design that Leo was so proud of. First hitting the scene in the late '90s, the LB-100 has been a stable of the G&L catalog and is particularly popular among Precision enthusiasts. 

We are big fans of the Tribute Series here at Guitar World, as these instruments are effortless to play, very affordable and always impeccably finished. 

Featuring a lightweight poplar body, vintage tint satin neck with maple fingerboard and black block inlays, alnico split-coil pickup and G&L Saddle-Lock bridge, it's pretty hard to find a better p-bass at this price point. 

Best Precision bass: Buying advice

70s Fender P-bass

(Image credit: Future)

How to choose the best Precision bass for you

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

When it comes to choosing between a Precision Bass (P-Bass) and a Jazz-Bass (J-Bass), it's important to consider your personal preferences, playing style, and the sonic qualities you seek. The P-Bass has its distinct appeal and offers a different experience compared to its J-Bass counterpart.

P-bass pickups

One of the main differences lies in the pickup configuration. The Precision Bass features a split single-coil pickup; this distinction affects the tonal characteristics of each bass. The P-Bass delivers a focused and powerful low end with a punchy midrange, making it an excellent choice for genres like metal, blues, and country. Its single-pickup design provides a straightforward and classic tone that cuts through the mix with clarity and definition.

Which other brands make Precision-style basses?

In terms of brands beyond Fender, there are reputable options worth exploring. Music Man offers high-quality Precision Bass models with its own unique twists, often favored for their craftsmanship and playability. Other brands like G&L, Sire and Strandberg provide excellent alternatives that maintain the essence of the P-Bass while adding their own sonic characteristics and design elements.

How much should I spend on a Precision bass?

When considering price ranges, it's important to note the differences between inexpensive and expensive models. Inexpensive P-Bass guitars generally feature more affordable components and materials, resulting in a budget-friendly option without compromising on the iconic P-Bass sound. 

There might, however, be questions about the durability and reliability of their electronics. On the other hand, higher-end models offer superior craftsmanship, premium tonewoods, advanced electronics, and enhanced hardware. These upgrades translate into increased durability, better tonal versatility, and overall playing comfort. If you're a professional musician or someone seeking a lifelong instrument, investing in a higher-priced P-Bass can provide a rewarding playing experience.

Ultimately, the choice between a Precision Bass and a Jazz Bass depends on your musical preferences and the genres you intend to play. If you crave the foundational power and focus of a classic bass sound, the P-Bass is an excellent choice. Its versatility extends across various genres like rock, blues, and country. However, if you desire a broader tonal palette and more flexibility in your playing, the J-Bass is worth considering, particularly for jazz, funk, fusion, and modern styles. Exploring different brands and price ranges will help you find the ideal Precision Bass that aligns with your musical aspirations, budget, and personal playing preferences.

How we choose the best Precision basses for this guide

Here at Guitar World, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything guitar related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.

When choosing what we believe to be the best Precision basses available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.

First and foremost, we are guitarists, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best Precision basses on the market right now.

Read more about our rating system, how we choose the gear we feature, and exactly how we test each product.

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